3D printers changed our engineering course completely. When I first started in engineering there was no 3D printers that we could use. However in our 3rd year the school bought five printers and gave us access to them. All of a sudden we were able to bring our 2D drawings and sketches and print them in 3D, having a 3D part in your hand gives so much more insight into how a part might work or not work. Most of the time when you print a part you design you realise that you’ve forgotten essential details and end up having to start again and with 3D printing because the process is so cheap these mistakes don’t matter, it’s all about learning.
Going through the process of designing in 2D and then making your design 3D is an excellent experience as it gets you thinking about the full picture – it’s easy to forget large details when you design in 2D but when you design in 3D your brain has to change the way it thinks. It’s a real challenge at first but it’s a brilliant skill.